Clifton's opened in 1931, and after a remodel to add Polynesian theming in 1939 was rechristened "Clifton's Pacific Seas." The name "Clifton's" is a portmanteau of founder Clifford Clinton's name. Clifton's was a massive cafeteria, and aimed to serve inexpensive meals to all social classes, and promised to turn no one away, even the penniless. A neon sign flashed, "PAY WHAT YOU WISH."
This was the first Clifton's location, today most are familiar with the forest-themed Clifton's Brookdale location at 7th & Broadway, which still operates today. In November 2016, a new tiki bar was opened in that location, in tribute to the original Clifton's Pacific Seas, appropriately named Pacific Seas.
Clifton's Pacific Seas was themed on a grand scale. It had an elaborate, multi-story external facade with cascading waterfalls and tropical plantings. Inside there was another large waterfall, huts, and artificial palm trees.
Clifton's Pacific Seas closed June 17th, 1960, and the building was razed. It is now a parking lot.